As anticipated, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson was most often aligned with the court’s two other liberal justices. But she also demonstrated a willingness to part ways with her liberal colleagues to express her own vision of the law. https://t.co/F6AzVjGbDW
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) July 2, 2023
In the Washington Post, “Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s bold debut and independent streak”:
… Jackson on Friday completed her rookie term as the first Black woman to serve on the nation’s highest court, making a forceful debut from the bench and in writing while showing signs of an independent streak. As anticipated, she was most often aligned with the court’s two other liberal justices — Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — putting her on the losing side of high-profile, contentious decisions involving affirmative action in college admissions, gay rights and President Biden’s student loan forgiveness program.
But Jackson also demonstrated a willingness to part ways with her liberal colleagues, even when they were on the same side of an issue, to express her own vision of the law. She authored more solo dissenting opinions — three — than any of the three most recent justices to join the court did as newbies.
And Jackson surprised some observers by teaming up several times with conservative Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, typically in cases involving a conflict between government power and the rights of individuals.
“She was not going to sit on the sidelines. She dove in and made her presence known,” said New York University law professor Melissa Murray, who also was among the attorneys Biden considered nominating to fulfill his promise to name as Stephen G. Breyer’s successor the first Black female justice.
Biden “may have been looking for a Black woman, but she wasn’t just any Black woman,” Murray said. “She was excellent and prepared and made a critical difference in a number of cases.”…
From the outset in October, Jackson was an enthusiastic questioner, speaking more often during oral arguments than any other brand-new justice in at least the past three decades. She also had more to say than any sitting justice, with the exception of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. on two occasions, according to data analyzed by Adam Feldman and Jake Truscott for the Empirical SCOTUS blog.
Jackson, 52, joined the bench after years of running her own courtroom as a federal district judge in Washington, pumping out orders and opinions. Perhaps for that reason, Jackson displayed a level of confidence not typical of a first-term justice, Feldman said.
“We’ve come to assume that first-year justices are in an acclimation period where they keep their heads down and are willing to join on to other justices’ views and develop jurisprudence over time. She hasn’t fit that prototype,” Feldman said. “She has a lot to say and isn’t willing to cut corners to get her views out to the public.”…
Sean Marotta, an appellate attorney and close watcher of the court, said Jackson appears to be positioning herself as a “thought leader” for the left wing of the court in the way that Thomas has for years done on the right. Thomas led the court in dissents this term, writing a total of nine.
“So far, it seems Justice Jackson is leaning towards sharing her own views without compromise,” Marotta said. “She was nominated because she has strong views, and she’s holding true to them.”…
“It is difficult to remember a term in which a new justice arrived with such a powerful voice,” said Gregory G. Garre, a Supreme Court practitioner who served as solicitor general under President George W. Bush. “Justice Jackson has staked out a position on the far left of the court with Justice Sotomayor, but she has breathed new life and a fresh perspective on many arguments on the left.”…
Worth reading the whole thing!